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Carlsen and Aronian Win Corus Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
January 28, 2008
GM Magnus Carlssen. Photo Ian Rogers
17-year-old Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Levon Aronian of Armenia tied for first in the A Group of Corus Chess 2008 (Wijk aan Zee, Jan.11-27), with 8/13 each. Their paths to victory were very different. Carlsen had a bumpy road in the second half, including an amazing save against Van Wely in round 9 and a loss in round 11 against Anand. He rebounded in the penultimate round against Kramnik to rise again to the top of the scoreboard. Most of Aronian's action occured in the first half of the event, as his only decisive game in the last six games was the following wild tactical win against Loek Van Wely.

In the forced line after 24.Rxc6, Black cannot respond to 26.Nd6! with 26...Bxd6 in view of 27.Qxd5 0-0 (Black does not have to get mated, but he will lose quickly with his king in the center also, especially in view of the threat Bb5.) 28.Qg5, mating.

Carlsen pulled out a miracle from Loek Van Wely, who achieved a winning position against Carlsen's Benko gambit.

Van Wely had a dominant position after 21.Bh3, but Carlsen kept it interesting with tricky moves such as  21...f5, 26...Rxf5 and 30...Nb2. Van Wely fell apart with 39. Qe3. Instead 39.Qe7 just barely holds back Black's attack, since the bishop on g7 is pinned.

Van Wely- Carlsen, Position after 38...Bf5

That game brought Carlsen back up to joint first, but he lost the next day to Anand with White. Anand defended well against Carlsen's heavy kingside attack:

Carlsen returned Anand's favor to  Kramnik in the next round, scoring an important victory with Black, against the English Opening of all things.

Americans Excel in C-Section

GM Fabiano Caruana from Italy and the USA dominated the C group at Corus 2008, with 10/13. The round-robin managed to randomly generate an exciting last round pairing in the final round. Fabiano played the only person who could catch his score of 9/12, GM Parimarjan Negi from India, who was on 8/12:

GM Fabiano Caruana faces off against GM Pontus Carlsson. Photo Jan Van der Mortel

IM Irina Krush had a slow start in Corus, but she had an amazing second half, winning five of her final six games. If you haven't already, be sure to watch Macauley Peterson's video interview with Krush , in which she explains her wins against GMs Pontus Carlsson and Fabiano Caruana. Irina's final victory over a GM was in the penultimate round against GM Jan Van der Wiel, when she achieved the following position:

Position after 33.Rd2

Irina just played 33.Red2, which carries a devastating threat, Nb7! Unfortunately for Black, his queen has been on a5 for the last eight moves to defend indirectly against Qxh5--Black could play Rxd6, when the knight is not defending enough times because the e-pawn is pinned. But the only way to avoid Nb7 is to move the queen. Van der Wiel chose 33...Qa6 and the game continued 34. Qxh5 Nf5 35. Rg4 Qa5 36. Qg5 and Black resigned.

Here is the full game:

IM Irina Krush. Photo Jan Van der Mortel

Corus 2008 A group
 Final Standings after 13 rounds

 1-2- GM Levon Aronian ARM 2739 and GM Magnus Carlsen NOR 2733-8

 3-4- GM Teymour Radjabov AZE 2735 and GM Viswanathan Anand IND 2799-7.5
 5-6- GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2751 and GM Peter Leko HUN 2753-7
7-8- GM Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2799 and GM Michael Adams ENG 2726- 6.5
9-11- Shakhryar Mamedyarov AZE 2760, GM Judit Polgar HUN 2707 and GM Veselin Topalov -6
12-14-  Pavel Eljanov UKR 2692,  Boris Gelfand ISR 2737 and Loek van Wely NED 2681- 5.0

Corus 2008 B group

Final Standings after 13 rounds
1- Sergei Movsesian- 9.5

2-3- Nigel Short and Etienne Bacrot- 8.5

Click here for complete "B" group standings.

Corus C group
Final Standings after 13 rounds
1- GM Fabiano Caruana- 10
2-3 GM Parimarjan Negi and GM Dimitri Reinderman- 8
4. GM Pontus Carlsson-7.5
5-8- GM Friso Nijober, IM Arik Braun, GM John Van der Wiel and IM Irina Krush- 7

For complete "C" group standings, click here.